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Ohio 2020 election: Who's running for the Ohio Supreme Court?

Supreme Court of Ohio

Supreme Court of Ohio, photo by Doral Chenowith III, Columbus Dispatch

Jackie Borchardt  Cincinnati Enquirer

Published 10:06 p.m. ET Aug. 31, 2020 Updated 10:48 p.m. ET Aug. 31, 2020

COLUMBUS – Two of the seven seats on the Ohio Supreme Court are up for grabs this fall.

Democrats are hoping to flip the majority-Republican court to their favor. Republicans are hoping to keep two long-time jurists on the bench.

But the candidates' party affiliations won't appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. And many voters choose to skip the races after making their picks for president and other top-of-the-ballot races.

This year, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French, a Republican, faces a challenge from Judge Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat on the 10th District Appellate Court and former Ohio secretary of state. Justice Sharon Kennedy, a Republican, is opposed by Judge John P. O'Donnell, a Democrat on the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

[ How do I register to vote in Ohio? How can I vote absentee by mail? Find the answers to those questions and more in The Enquirer's 2020 voting guide. ]

Justices serve six-year terms and cannot take the oath of office after reaching age 70. The court's current composition is five Republicans and two Democrats. Four of the seven seats are held by women.

The odds of a case ending up in front of the high court are slim, but the justices' decisions can have broad impact statewide.

The court determines whether an electric company overcharged its customers – and whether it should give that money back. It decides when police can lawfully stop and search someone. It hears challenges to state election rules, by ballot measure groups and rap stars.

Here's more about the candidates.

Jennifer Brunner

Judge Jennifer Brunner

Party: Democratic

Hometown: Columbus

Age: 63

Current position: Judge on the Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals since 2014 

Education: Bachelor of arts in sociology-gerontology from Miami University, law degree from Capital University 

Other experience: Ohio Secretary of State (2007-11), Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge (2001-2005)

Bar association ratings: Recommended by the Ohio State Bar Association, good by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, good by the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, excellent by the Cuyahoga County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Fun fact: Brunner took Russian in high school in Columbus. It came in handy when she was working Serbia in 2012 with the U.S. State Department because the two languages are similar. 


To read about Judge Brunner's opponent and the two candidates for the other seat for election this year, see: 

Paid for by Jennifer Brunner Committee
Gretchen Green, Treasurer
5001 Horizons Dr., Ste. 209
Columbus, OH 43220
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